“Connections” lead to JCJC’s Keay performing in South America

Written By: Teresa McCreery
Email Address: teresa.mccreery@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2017-12-11 15:49:08

ELLISVILLE – Sometimes it’s who you know that can put you in a key position for success.  Jones County Junior College’s assistant director of bands and flute instructor, Lindsey Keay can say that’s how she landed an opportunity to teach and perform in South America. She was invited to play a rarely performed piece of music on her piccolo in Cartagena Columbia, South America, because of a couple of colleagues.  Keay explained, her USM college friend, Jesus Castro who teaches at the Unibac Conservatorio de Musica Adolfo Meijia in Cartagena, Colombia South America, and USM professor of flute, Dr. Danilo Mezzadri, a Brazilian citizen had a conflict. Because of Dr. Mezzadri’s citizenship interview and the music festival hosted by the El Institucion Universitaria Bellas Artes y Ciencias de Bolivar UNIBAC, were at the same time, both Dr. Mezzadri and Castro called Keay to take Dr. Mezzadri’s place at the international music festival and clinic.

“It was kind of last minute but I was honored that they both thought highly enough of my teaching and performing abilities to go to the festival in his place,” said Keay. 

To be invited to play internationally is simply an amazing experience for Keay. However, this opportunity is unique because piccolo solos are rarely written in orchestral musical pieces and oftentimes, the flute is usually preferred over the high-pitched instrument.

“I think they wanted to play the piccolo arrangement of the Morlacchi II Pastore Svizzero piece because it is kind of a novelty and that arrangement has not been performed very frequently,” said Keay.  “I’m not sure if this piece has ever been played in Colombia before, but certainly not at the university. I was the first piccolo soloist there has ever been. I was super excited but a little stressed out! Just trying to get all the music ready and prepare to travel to a foreign country in the span of a couple weeks was daunting.  I was really grateful and honored for the opportunity.”

Keay’s international spotlight was shared with her friend in a duet performance with the University’s Wind band. However, the majority of her five-days in South America were spent teaching flute masterclasses and giving private lessons to university and high school students.

“The students and teachers were amazing. I got to meet a lot of interesting people including other guest artists from various countries, the fantastic students and the people in general in Cartagena were really hospitable and welcoming,” said the Canadian born, Keay.

The timing of her international debut was right in the middle of marching band season at JCJC. However, JCJC Director of Bands, Dr. Ben Burge didn’t keep Keay from missing out on this chance of a lifetime.

“It is a very rare thing to have such an incredibly talented music faculty member at the Junior College level.  Lindsey is by far one of the most talented flute performers in our state and I would bet that she is the very best applied flute teacher on the college level in Mississippi,” said Dr. Burge.

This is Keay’s fourth year working in the JCJC Fine Arts Department. Somehow, she also juggles teaching sectional lessons with South Jones High School students, working on her Ph.D. in music education at USM, she serves as the piccolo/third flute player in the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, and she is a regular player with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Ballet, the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.  She has served as the principal flute in the Natchez Music festival for nearly a decade and Keay has given a variety solo, chamber ensemble and orchestral performances in the Festival South series of events in Hattiesburg. 

Keay is a graduate of the University of Texas with her B.M. in Music Studies and Human Learning, a Performance Certificate in Flute and a Texas Teaching Certification, and while at the University of Southern Mississippi, she earned her masters of music in flute performance. During her graduate work at USM, Keay won competitions performing as a soloist with the USM Wind Ensemble and USM Symphony Orchestra. Obviously, Keay personifies what she teaches her students; lots of practicing and hard work, pays off.

“I also tell my students the connections you make in music go way beyond just playing an instrument or singing with others. Try to take advantage of all opportunities that come your way and remember that kindness, honesty, hard work and tenacity go a long way as a teacher and performer.”  


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